So many pieces. Small, glistening, delicate. She loved how the pieces fitted together. How the gears were so tiny, yet so vital to the whole mechanism. She grinned as the last piece went in and, with just a couple of turns of the dial, the clockwork sprung to life.
A heart of brass, beating in her palm. She had done this. She had taken all the pieces and put them together. Her skill was unmatched. Her artistry impeccable.
Yet she was alone.
She had devoted her entire life to this skill. There were none that possessed fingers as precise as hers. None that had a vision so accurate that she could spot even the tiniest misalignment.
She has never loved. She had never married.
It had never mattered. She had her clocks. She had her gears and her dials. It had always been enough.
But now she was old. Her skin wrinkled and her joints ached. Her vision was blurring. Her precision faltering. Soon she would not be able to continue her art. She would be just an old woman, alone and forgotten.
That's why she had taken the child. She had seen her abandoned by the church. So small. So fragile. So delicate. No one to take care of her, no one to love her. A kindred spirit in miniature.
She would look after her. She could be a mother now.
But children should cry.
Children should squirm in your arms.
They should be warm to the touch.
But it will all be okay.
She could fix anything. And what is a child but gears and springs held together by glistening sinew? Some pieces were simply broken, that's all, and she had a heart for her now.
How the pieces fitted together. Small, glistening, delicate.
Thump. Thud. Thump.
Thud.See, she thought, I can fix anything.